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7 Days and 7 Frights
on 1 June 2011
If there were two genres that I never thought would be spliced together it would be the foreign art house and the `torture porn'. There is no way that these two styles should match in tone; one is about intelligence and slow pacing, the other about visceral imagery and shocking content. `7 Days' is a film that tries to create the first torture-porn-art-house film and in many ways shows why this all new genre is not going to catch on. Starring Claude Legault as Bruno, a bereaved father and surgeon trapped in anguish over the brutal murder of his young daughter. The man responsible is soon apprehended, but courtroom based justice is not enough for Bruno. Instead he kidnaps the alleged killer and holds him - in 7 days time he plans to kill the killer.
There are certain things in film that, if you plan to show, you better get the tone right. The brutal murder of Bruno's daughter is not captured on camera, but a realistic body is. The imagery is shocking and very unpleasant, it sat uncomfortably with the rest of the film were Bruno is torn between killing the man he believes murdered his daughter and letting him go. Yes the film is a powerful portrayal of grief, but other elements are pure lowest common denominator exploitation. Using the death of a child as a motive for some `Saw' style surgery is not really acceptable and director Daniel Grou does not quite earn the right to do this in the film. However, despite its horror roots the film is trying to be something more - a true exploration of sorrow and perhaps a serious drama. At times `7 Days' makes for compelling viewing, just uncomfortably so. This is not a film that I could recommend for many; too base for drama fans, too serious for horror fans. It remains a film within its own genre and one best left for cine-literate academic types.